Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dear Fr. Jenkins: Jesus Changed Water to Wine

I'll write about Notre Dame's disappointing day in East Lansing soon enough. But something else needs our attention. It seems that nearly every law enforcement agency in the state of Indiana has decided that alcohol consumption by college students is the top enforcement priority in the state. It seems that the SUDS task force (Oh, that cop humor!) swooped down upon an off-campus party late last night and arrested 37 Notre Dame students for underage drinking, including two football players. Whew! I feel much safer now! Because we know the streets of South Bend are free of violent crime. Rape, muggings, burglary, murder - none of that in St. Joseph County!

Now, don't get me wrong, if a student party off-campus is too loud and is disturbing the local citizenry, it's fair to call the cops and break the party up. If anyone gets obnoxious with the cops rather than running for the hills, then arrest them. But to have a multi-agency task force swooping in and arresting dozens of students is ridiculous. College students drink. College students have been drinking in and around Notre Dame and South Bend since approximately 1842. Living out here in California, I don't understand what has transpired to make this such a perceived threat to public safety. Has the President of the local MADD chapter been elected Mayor of South Bend?

I was a student in the mid 1980's when the University drastically changed the alcohol policy. Up until then, dorm parties featuring plenty of adult beverages was the norm. Heck, they were rites of passage. Under the old rules, there was no need to EVER go off campus looking for a party. All you had to do was step out into the hallway outside your dorm room. The new rules generally prohibited drinking by students under 21, although if you were drinking alone in your room behind closed doors they would generally ignore it. (Brilliant policy!). So of course all underage drinking by ND students came to a halt. NOT!

The parties moved off campus, a long way from the safety of the dorms, with predictable results. The neighbors have to deal with more loud parties. No RAs or dorm rectors to keep a lid on things. Students now have to worry about the Inidana State Police taking them off to jail. And if the cops don't show up, inebriated students have to find a way back to their dorm rooms. They can stumble along dark, dangerous South Bend streets or they can catch a ride with one of their slightly less hammered buddies. Brilliant!

I have a daughter who hopes to attend Notre Dame someday soon. Ask me if I would rather she go to a party and have a couple of beers in the common room of her dorm or in an apartment in a lousy neighborhood off campus? It is no contest that I'd rather she attend the party in her dorm. Isn't this obvious to Father Jenkins and the rest of the University leadership?

I guess what bothers me the most is how the University (both UND and other universities) is a moral coward on this issue, while being the champion of moral virtues on other issues. Stand up against Catholic teaching and the Church by hosting the Vagina Monologues and encouraging a week of tolerance for the LGBTQ community at Notre Dame? Absolutely! Many schools thumb their noses at the Federal government by banning ROTC from campus. Protests for and against anything (abortion, war, drugs, hunger, radical environmentalism, communism) are de riguer on campus. But when it comes to beer, the University curls up into the fetal position and mumbles something about "liability" and the law. The University is willing to "stick it to the man" in the name of political correctness. But not in the name of its students. It wasn't always that way.

As for the football players. I am disappointed that members of the football team weren't a little more upset by the loss to Michigan State. If the team had won the game, then they should be out partying. Or preferably on campus partying. But after a tough loss I would think the team would keep a lower profile and get some sleep. As for Wil Yeatman, if it turns out that he really was caught drinking again, he's an idiot. I'm sure his reinstatement to the football and lacrosse teams (not to mention his deal with the Indiana judicial system) included a very clear understanding that he would not drink underage anymore. By putting himself in a situation where he will likely never play varsity sports at Notre Dame again he really let down all his teammates.


Eddie said...

I haven't heard Mike Golic's (the father) comments on ESPN if he made any but I was hoping he would say, "so what, big deal, my son had a few beers." The whole effin country seems scared to state the obvious, that the 21 year old drinking law that the feds have forced onto the states is a joke. The mere recent mention of a possible dialogue on this issue had the facists at MADD screaming and hollering about asking for more deaths. Ridiculous.

tednict said...

OC Domer, you have stated the obvious, but others in leadership roles must come to an understanding of what is real in the world of today's young adults. I hope your daughter attends Notre Dame and realizes that she has a great Dad.

Jack said...

From the Fighting Irish Thomas BLOG , I learned St Brigid & St. Cronán are credited with an "Irish miracle of Cana"- ... 'turning water into beer during an Irish wedding celebration. Unlike Brigid, ... (Cronán)turned so much water into suds, "that nearly all the guests became inebriated"'
Fefruary 09, 2007

Anonymous said...

Sad that law enforcement is so worried about lesser offenses where fellonies/violent crime continue. Where are the police when this occurs? They are allocating resources to underage drinking and catcing speeders going 5 mph over. Until we quit accepting this use of resources and force the police to concentrate on crime that society attaches severe penalties to, we will continue to fear in certain neighborhoods, continue to have the weak preyed upon and continue to have government scream for more resources. When do we quit tolerating the behavior of government in this area.